I am really amazed at the amount of hurtful and offensive comments I get from other church members about children while carrying my third child. Let me start by saying that being offended isn’t a big deal, be offended- nothing happens. I by no means would inhibit freedom of speech just because some people are tactless. That said, I don’t know that there’s much thought that occurs before people speak these days. And certainly there is a lack of functional compassion and Biblical consultation. If we as Christians are intending to take a stand against abortion, we must first stop making expectant mothers feel ashamed or guilty about their babies.
Large families are a cultural anomaly. I use the word “large” relatively here because apparently, we live in a culture that would likely have no qualms with adopting China’s notorious one child policy. I don’t consider 3 children to be a large family in light of the fact that I came from a family of 6 with 3 siblings. Large families to me would be 6+ children- you know, when you have no choice but to drive a 15 passenger van and buy all your groceries at Costco.
My issue with the comments people make has little to do with the number of children I have and more with the private nature of the questions and comments that are made without regard to personal convictions or Biblical teaching. On that note, here’s a list of 3 things I believe people should NOT to say to parents of large families, as well as scriptural support for my standpoint.
3.) Oh no!– this in some way implies that the life of my child is an inconvenient or bad thing. To paraphrase Ben Shapiro, the potentiality for life is more important than anyone’s convenience. The negative context of “oh no!” also emplies that I don’t want my child, or that I’ll be in some form or fashion unable to care for him or her. My child is not an “oh no!” My child is always a “yay!”, Regardless of your opinion of the circumstances.
2.) “You know what causes that, right?”– Nope. Not at all. I failed basic biology in middle school, and have zero comprehension of the basic reproductive function of my body.
She said, as sarcastically as possible
What do people intend to accomplish by this statement? Is it rhetorical? If so, why bother saying anything at all? My mama taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I should just keep my mouth shut. Did anyone else receive this primary instruction in etiquette? Everyone involved would be better served by a simple word of encouragement.
3.) Are you going to have a tubal ligation/vasectomy after this one?- how is this even appropriate to ask? Furthermore, how is it anyone else’s business? My husband’s and my personal convictions regarding birth control aside, if you aren’t my doctor, you have no business asking me what my future reproductive plans are. The inner workings of my sexual reproductive organs are not your concern. I have a right to privacy, and I’m tired of the breech of privacy by asking such a personal question.
Maybe it’s just me, but having been so sick I was losing hair and weighed a measly 100 lbs on my 5 foot 9 inch stature is enough to make me swear off any form of birth control. God made my body to function in a certain way, and praise God, it does what it’s supposed to. In a world where women are undergoing surgeries, hormone replacement, and fertility treatments to conceive and frequently fail to carry the pregnancy to term, I am extremely blessed to have experienced pregnancy and motherhood 2, going on 3 times.
I would never “make” (that’s always the word they use) my husband undergo a surgery to undo what makes him uniquely male, and he respects my desire to not undergo invasive surgery to undo what makes me uniquely female. Stewardship is something that is to be considered with all of God’s gifts. However, I believe our culture has forgotten that God ordained marriage for the purpose of creating families of disciples and worshippers, and to make His Name great among the nations.
I have read and studied and prayed and consulted numerous Christian scholars on the subject of birth control and elective sterilization (be honest, that’s what those surgeries are.) After all my searching and studying, I cannot in good conscience take something into my own hands that I believe rests with God alone. Here are my scriptural references for why I am against birth control (or abortion for that matter) in all it’s man-made forms:
So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”
Genesis 1:27-28 HCSB
I will require the life of every animal and every man for your life and your blood. I will require the life of each man’s brother for a man’s life. Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in His image. But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.”
Genesis 9:5-7 HCSB
Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord , children, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them. Such men will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.
Psalms 127:3-5 HCSB
For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.
Psalms 139:13-16 HCSB
…so that a future generation — children yet to be born — might know. They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep His commands.
Psalms 78:6-7 HCSB
But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith, love, and holiness, with good judgment.
1 Timothy 2:15* HCSB
*It is right and fitting for women to fulfill their God-given role as wife and mother.
In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.
There are numerous other passages in scripture that have convicted me of the use of contraceptives (excluding abstinence) for example:
A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband.
A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but the wife does.
Do not deprive one another sexually– except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self control.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5
There are times and seasons appropriate for everything- abstinence included- during which time the Christian is to be devoted in prayer to God.
There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 HCSB
So to my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially the ones who grew up in the depression era and recall the financial hardships faced by large families, God has this under control. I will pray, I will rely on Scripture, I will use discernment and seek to walk in God’s will. And as long as my kids are loved, clothed, fed, housed, nurtured, protected, and educated in the Gospel, you have no reason to fret for them. And as long as my husband serves the Lord, loves his family, has work, and pays his taxes, we’re all doing alright. And the best thing you can give us is encouragement and support in our times of excitement as our family grows.
That’s what I pray for anyone walking down the same road as us- for the love and encouragement and prayers of support from their brothers and sisters in Christ.